Letter: Health of the disabled

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The Independent Online
Sir: My severely learning disabled son of 53 years has no speech and the ability level of a pre-school child. I have been aware for many years that it requires more determination to have his ailments diagnosed and treated than has ever been the case for his non-handicapped brother and sister.

I am pleased to see the support given to the Disability Rights Commission's research by the President of the Royal College of Physicians and other medical and nursing professionals (letter, 2 February). I notice, however, that the dental profession is not among the signatories. There are special difficulties in giving dental treatment to people with a learning disability and dentists and nurses practising in this field successfully are most valuable. The dental needs of people with LD are certainly not less than those of the general population but experience shows that these needs are often neglected.

People with LD, who are likely to have complex health needs, should have the equivalent of the "well woman" and "well man" annual checks that are available to the elderly population. Our local mental health/LD NHS trust takes the view that "routine annual checks are not required".


Dorking, Surrey